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Supermicro investigation finds no evidence of Chinese spy chips in its hardware

Back in October, California-based hardware supplier Super Micro Computer was accused of distributing components compromised with Chinese microchips developed for spy purposes. Concluding its investigations earlier this week, Supermicro has deemed these reports “wrongful,” finding no malicious hardware within its supply.

Bloomberg’s report alleges that as many as 30 US companies were affected by the rice grain-sized chip supposedly housed within server motherboards – a claim which Amazon Web Service (AWS) and Apple immediately denied in official letters to Congress. US Homeland Security and the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in turn agreed with the two companies.

Our very own grumpy guru Leo criticised the likelihood of such an infiltration less than a day after the report emerged, highlighting the inability to know where the compromised PCB would inevitably end up. You can watch the video below:

Supermicro, which took the brunt of the accusation, has since attempted to dismiss reports of “bad actors” by inviting a third-party investigation, which concluded on December 11, 2018. “After thorough examination and a range of functional tests, the investigations firm found absolutely no evidence of malicious hardware on our motherboards,” reads the post.

The company reaffirmed its stance on security, explaining that it tests products “at every step of the manufacturing process,” including “every layer of every board.” Supermicro employees are even on-site with any contractors on the assembly line, conducting regular inspections. At no point does any employee receive unrestricted access to the design of a motherboard, leaving no room for tampering.

Sadly, Supermicro has a long way to go in recovering its share prices, which dropped over 40% after Bloomberg’s initial story broke. These findings, as well as continuous backing from official sources, have begun the company’s arduous climb back up.

“We appreciate the industry support regarding this matter from many of our customers, like Apple and AWS. We are also grateful for numerous senior government officials, including representatives of the Department of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the FBI, who early on appropriately questioned the truth of media reports,” concludes Supermicro.

KitGuru Says: While it’s sad to see a company’s share price suffer from unfounded allegations, it’s good to see how thorough Supermicro has been about the reports. At this point, it seems that Supermicro is in the clear, hopefully those responsible for the initial accusations are held accountable. 

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